This sad reality caused Sylvia Plath to attempt her first suicide....

Critical Essays on American Literature Series - Sylvia Plath

Throughout her shortened life, Plath had a variety of titles bestowed upon her: daughter, sister, student, wife, mother, teacher, author, and poetess However, Sylvia Plath was a haunted soul, as she also had the labels of “manic depressive” and “bipolar.” Her constant struggles with her mental illnesses are evident in her writing, especially her semi-autobiographical novel, The Bell Jar....


Sylvia Plath writes about her own experiences dealing with her authoritarian father in “Daddy.” In this poem, Plath utilizes literary devices like allusion, child-like diction, and dualistic organization to communicate her bitterness in this theme of resentment and scorn.

Taking its point of departure in the academic research she conducted for her undergraduate thesis, The Magic Mirror: A Study of the Double in Two of Dostoevsky’s Novels, this paper explores the theme of the divided self in the poetry of Sylvia Plath.

Linda wagner critical essays on sylvia plath 1984

The prominent poet and critic, Al Alvarez, claimed that the Ariel poems “manage to make death and poetry inseparable” and Charles Newton described Plath as “courting experience that kills.”1 However, in spite of the immense scholarship dedicated to her, the examination of the gothic features in her work has been neglected and as such, this essay will focus on the gothic world of Sylvia Plath....

Critical Essays on Sylvia Plath.

In The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath uses parallelism, stream of consciousness, the motif of renewal and rebirth, symbolism of the boundary-driven entrapped mentally ill, and auto-biographical details to epitomize the mental downfall of protagonist, Esther Greenwood.

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Her father, a professor of biology at Boston University, died when she was rather young of a combination of diabetes, gangrene, and broncho-pneumonia, but as Barbara Drake points out, "'Daddy,' perhaps the most personal and vituperative of the poems, escapes being what it might have become in a more truly 'confessional' treatment, a nasty harangue or the hacking of a helpless scapegoat" (Wagner 43).

critical essays on sylvia plath ..

Sylvia Plath's values were just the opposite of these: a year of teaching convinced her that the professional world would only detract from her personal priorities, and thereafter stayed at home, creating her babies and the best poems of her life.

Sylvia Plath: Poems Essays | GradeSaver

Sometime in late 1960, Plath became pregnant again and in February she had a miscarriage. She also had an appendectomy, which left her stitched & hospitalized for a number of weeks. The surgery was performed at St. Pancras Hospital. It was the experience of being hospitalized that charged Plath in a writing frenzy that produced "Tulips" and "In Plaster" and also gave her momentum on writing a novel. According to , Sylvia Plath began writing sometime in March 1961 and she worked like mad for the next seventy days on the novel. She used the study at the Merwin's, who lived nearby at . The appendectomy probably frightened Plath, or at least brought back many memories of August 1953 when she was institutionalized. Plath felt the power of childbearing to be enormously inspirational. It no doubt led her to creativity--if she could create children, why not poems as well? Whilst at the hospital, Plath received a first reading contract with a check for $100 from . This meant that would read all of Plath's new poems and have first choice at accepting them for publication.